Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Francis Gay, Sr.

1st Sergent 

Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device

First Sergeant Francis Gay Sr. enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1950 in Searcy.  He served on active duty for over 21 years with overseas tours in West Germany, Korea, and Vietnam.  Serving in many capacities throughout his career, he was the Senior Military Science instructor for the then-Arkansas State College, and upon transition, the Arkansas State University Indian Battalion (1965-68). During this time, he utilized his experiences and leadership skills to prepare young Cadets to become second lieutenants while continuing his education at Arkansas State.

Following this assignment, he deployed to Vietnam with the Americal Division. During his deployment, First Sergeant Gay was a combat hero. On 22 June 1969, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor. His citation reads:

"For heroism in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. First Sergeant Gay distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 23 November 1968 while serving with Company B, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry. On that date, the company was conducting routine operations near Binh Kieu when they encountered a concealed enemy force. One platoon sustained several casualties in the initial contact and did not have a medic immediately available. Sergeant (sic) Gay quickly located the senior aidman and led him to the wounded soldiers. He then took charge of moving the wounded men to a secure location. As Sergeant Gay returned to the company command post, he learned that the company commander had also been seriously wounded. He immediately assumed command of the unit, regrouped his men, coordinated dust off operations, and secured a suitable landing zone. After all the casualties had been extracted, Sergeant Gay rallied his men and led an assault on an enemy emplacement. His courageous actions were instrumental in the swift evacuation of his wounded comrades, and in routing the insurgents..."

After his retirement from active duty, he moved his family to Newport where he was a co-founder of a new JROTC program and spent many years molding high school Cadets into future leaders. He later followed his passion to become a commercial truck driver and was an owner operator for several years. Eventually, he was hired to assist and teach at the commercial driving course located at ASU-Newport.

"Sarge," as he was well known by, spent his life serving others, whether as a Soldier, teacher, mentor, or friend; he had a heart for serving. He was a humble man who worked behind the scenes to make things happen. First Sergeant Gay's personal heroism and trustworthy acts of service are in keeping with the highest traditions of military and civil service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Red Wolf Battalion, and the United States Army.